Late last year, a proposal to build three apartment buildings on Ladysmith Drive in Kenmount Terrace caused a bit of a stir amongst residents in the area. I voted for the proposal, and made my case in a blog post.
However, I did note that Kenmount Terrace’s lack of amenities “is the concern that has caused me the most pause for thought and is probably the most important one to consider.”
“I see this as an opportunity to set a new precedent.”
I said, “In principle, with the perspective of our city's future in mind, I am supportive of this proposal. I will, however, work closely with staff, my colleagues on council, and the developer to find a final agreement that includes enhancements to the community alongside the development of these apartments.”
In other words, even though I voted to approve the project, I also see this as an opportunity to set a new precedent. That is, the City work closely with developers not just to help them understand and follow our regulations, but to partner in the creation of “complete neighbourhoods.”
Our Developers Must Give Back
I followed through on my promise, and with Ward 4 Councillor Bernard Davis (who voted against the proposal but continues to seek ways to help his constituents) worked with the developer to determine what can be done.
The developer, Northern Property REIT, is very interested in giving back to their tenants’ new neighbourhood. There are a number of ideas we’re considering, and would require partnership with the City.
Here are some of the suggestions we came up with together:
- Construction of a walking trail around the site to connect with the new proposed park and other potential trail systems in the area
- Supply of playground equipment
- Providing speed bumps for installation
- Providing digital traffic speed reader signs for installation
- Providing traffic speed limit signs for the neighborhood
With that in mind, I have suggested and will be supporting a one-week deferral of today’s vote in Council so that we can pull staff and the developer together to finalize the specifics.
Today Council will vote on a commissioner's report (you can read the report here and our staff's follow-up recommendation here), and should the vote not be deferred, I'm still very confident we will see contributions from the developer as noted above.
A New Approach
For so long, our City had minimal development proposals each year. The past decade, however, has seen an incredible influx of development and we are faced with the opportunity to ask for more from our developers.
As we finalize our new municipal plan and development regulations, it’s time for the City to start collaborating more with developers and residents to truly build the city of our dreams.
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